This combination hormone medication is used to prevent pregnancy. It contains 2 hormones: norethindrone (a progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen). It works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle. It also makes vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. If a fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus, it passes out of the body. There is a small amount of iron (ferrous fumarate) in each of the 7 inactive tablets taken during the fourth week. The inactive pills do not contain any hormones. These tablets are meant to keep you in the habit of taking 1 tablet each day and do not have enough iron to treat iron deficiency.
Besides preventing pregnancy, birth control pills may make your periods more regular, decrease blood loss and painful periods, decrease your risk of ovarian cysts, and also treat acne.
Using this medication does not protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia).
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Pick a time of day that is easy for you to remember, and take your pill at the same time each day.
If you are taking the chewable tablet, you may either swallow it whole or chew it thoroughly and swallow.
It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the package instructions to find the first tablet, start with the first tablet in the pack, and take them in the correct order. Do not skip any doses. Pregnancy is more likely if you miss pills, start a new pack late, or take your pill at a different time of the day than usual.
Taking this medication after your evening meal or at bedtime may help if you have any stomach upset or nausea with the medication. You may choose to take this medication at another time of day that is easier for you to remember. No matter what dosing schedule you use, it is very important that you take this medication at the same time each day, 24 hours apart. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Your pill pack contains 21 pills with active medication. It also contains 7 reminder pills with iron. Take one active pill (with hormones) once daily for 21 days in a row. Take one inactive pill (with iron) once daily for 7 days in a row after you have taken the last active pill unless otherwise directed by your doctor. You should have your period during the fourth week of the pack. After you have taken the last iron tablet in the pack, start a new pack the next day whether or not you have your period. If you do not get your period, consult your doctor.
If you are taking certain medications (such as levodopa, levothyroxine, penicillamine, tetracyclines, quinolones such as ciprofloxacin) that can interact with iron, ask your doctor whether you should throw away the reminder pills (iron tablets) each day rather than taking them. Iron can decrease the effect of these medications.
If this is the first time you are using this medication and you are not switching from another form of hormonal birth control (such as patch, other birth control pills), take the first tablet in the pack on the first Sunday following the beginning of your menstrual period or on the first day of your period. If your period begins on a Sunday, begin taking this medication on that day. For the first cycle of use only, use an additional form of non-hormonal birth control (such as condoms, spermicide) for the first 7 days to prevent pregnancy until the medication has enough time to work. If you start on the first day of your period, you do not need to use back-up birth control the first week.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about how to switch from other forms of hormonal birth control (such as patch, other birth control pills) to this product. If any information is unclear, consult the Patient Information Leaflet or your doctor or pharmacist.
Nausea, vomiting, headache, bloating, breast tenderness, swelling of the ankles/feet (fluid retention), or weight change may occur. Vaginal bleeding between periods (spotting) or missed/irregular periods may occur, especially during the first few months of use. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If you miss 2 periods in a row (or 1 period if the pill has not been used properly), contact your doctor for a pregnancy test.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: lumps in the breast, mental/mood changes (such as new/worsening depression), severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual changes in vaginal bleeding (such as continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding, missed periods), dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
This medication may rarely cause serious (sometimes fatal) problems from blood clots (such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke). Get medical help right away if any of these side effects occur: chest/jaw/left arm pain, confusion, sudden dizziness/fainting, pain/swelling/warmth in the groin/calf, slurred speech, sudden shortness of breath/rapid breathing, unusual headaches (including headaches with vision changes/lack of coordination, worsening of migraines, sudden/very severe headaches), unusual sweating, weakness on one side of the body, vision problems/changes (such as double vision, partial/complete blindness).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: aromatase inhibitors (such as anastrozole, exemestane), ospemifene, tamoxifen, tizanidine, tranexamic acid, certain combination products used to treat chronic hepatitis C (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir with or without dasabuvir).
Some drugs may cause hormonal birth control to work less well by decreasing the amount of birth control hormones in your body. This effect can result in pregnancy. Examples include griseofulvin, modafinil, rifamycins (such as rifampin, rifabutin), St. Johns wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as barbiturates, carbamazepine, felbamate, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate), HIV drugs (such as nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir), among others.
Tell your doctor when you start any new drug, and discuss if you should use additional reliable birth control. Also tell your doctor if you have any new spotting or breakthrough bleeding, because these may be signs that your birth control is not working well.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (such as blood clotting factors, thyroid), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this medication.
Symptoms of overdose may include severe nausea and vomiting, sudden/unusual vaginal bleeding. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.